Disclaimer: The characters belong to the Master, JRRTolkien. I only borrow them  to love them and promise to give them back.

A/N: This is a companion piece to 'Dreams and Affirmations' and 'Rememberance'.

Frodo leaves for the Grey Havens: Sam and Rosie must learn to live with their memories. No slash/no violence.

A Longer road

Chapter 1

The last few months had been busy for Sam. He was often away from home tending the trees and saplings growing tall under the influence of the benign weather and the elven magic of Galadriel's gift. The party tree had blossomed, even as Rosie's pregnancy had progressed, and the birth of his beautiful daughter had crowned his happiness. Only his continued concern for Frodo marred his otherwise settled existence.  Frodo had never really settled comfortably back into the Shire. He avoided the company of all but his closest friends and often fell into silent, distracted isolation.  The pain of his injuries a constant dull reminder of his toils during the Quest.  He spent long hours in the study organising and finishing Bilbo's diaries and completing the account of the Quest.  Merry and Pippin were frequent visitors, but even they could not rouse Frodo from his self-imposed isolation. Sam could offer comfort and companionship on the bad days, days that were becoming more frequent as the months progressed and the summer waned.

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The afternoon lengthened into early evening. A comforting fire warmed the kitchen of Bag End. The day had been busy for all of the occupants but the bustle of the day had settled into quiet companionship. Sam slipped out to the stables to go and check on the ponies, he had checked the saddles and harnesses earlier but his excitement at the prospect of tomorrows journey made him restless.  It was weeks since Frodo had even contemplated venturing out of the burrow, so when he had announced to Sam his intention to visit Bilbo, Sam had been delighted. Sam couldn't venture with him all the way to Rivendell but he would accompany him for a week or so until Frodo joined up with other travelling companions.  Sam wasn't aware of how these arrangements had been organised but he trusted Frodo's judgement and knew that he would be well looked after.

Rosie bustled about the kitchen preparing the supper. Frodo sat in the rocking chair beside the fire with Elanor cradled in his hands.  He was crooning a story to her as he rocked gently. Elanor's bright eyes gradually lost focus as her lids drooped, heavy with sleep. Frodo continued his story, his voice gradually getting softer and softer as she drifted into slumber.  When he was sure that she was settled he gently shifted her up onto his chest so that her head nestled unto his neck. He pulled a shawl around her and breathed in the gentle, distinctive baby smell. His breath caught in his throat, as he was overwhelmed with sadness.

Rosie looked up from the stove, aware of the sudden silence. Her smile quickly vanishing as she noticed the tears on Frodo's' cheeks.

            "Why Mr Frodo, whatever is the matter?"

            "Its nothing Rosie," he choked

            "Well the baby has had one bath today, I don't want you giving another" she joked gently, trying to ease the tension. "Let me settle her in her crib and then I'll make you some tea".  She lifted the sleeping baby and set her down in the crib.

Frodo continued to rock, unable to stem the silent tears that ran down his face. He hated to show his weakness, but could no longer contain the emotions he had suppressed for so long. Rosie knelt in front of him and enveloped him in a loving embrace. He tried to pull away but she tightened her grip until he resisted no longer and he sank against her, sobbing.

            "Shush…shush" she soothed as she would to Elanor. She held and comforted him for a long time until he stilled against her and his breathing eased.

"Can you tell me?" she asked quietly, taking his pale, beautiful face in her hands and wiping the tears from his cheeks with her thumbs.

"I'm not sure that you would understand. I'm not sure I understand!" he said shakily. ""You have both been so good to me. I'm so glad that Sam has you and Elanor…. it will make it easier…when…"

"When what, Mr Frodo?"

Suddenly realisation dawned and she stared at him in disbelief. " You don't intend to come back, do you?"

"There is no coming back from this journey, Rosie. The Elves and Bilbo are travelling to the Grey Havens to journey to the West and I will be going with them!"

" But what about the Shire and Bag End and the people that love you. What about SAM! You can't do that to him. Not after everything you've been through together… you will break his heart, he loves you"

"And I love him, that's why I have to go" he whispered. "I will not stay here and put you both through any more of my suffering. I couldn't bear for him to see me diminish and fade away, to become feeble and helpless and a burden. You two deserve to be happy and I will not put that in jeopardy."

" I knew when I accepted Sams proposal that you and he came as a package and I have never regretted my decision, you are part of his life and hold a large part of his heart and I love him for it." she said brushing away a stray tear that ran down her face.

"When do you intend to tell Sam?" she asked, moving away to put some distance between them

"Not until we are on the way," he said. "I know that it is cowardly of me, but if I tell him before we leave he will try and persuade me to stay, and I'm not sure if I am strong enough to resist him. I don't want to hurt him," his eyes pleaded with her to understand and to forgive him.

"Are you sure this is the only way?"

"What else can I do? This isn't an impulsive decision. I've known ever since we returned that there would be no happy ending for me here in the Shire, but I did hope to have longer than this. If I don't go now it will be too late and any chance I have of finding peace and contentment will be lost"

Rosie handed him a cup of tea and kissed him lightly on the cheek.

            "Well then, you had better get yourself off to bed, Sam will be in soon. One look at your face and he will know that something is wrong. He knows you too well to be fobbed off with excuses"

            "Thank you Rosie…. for everything."

Later as she lay in bed Rosie listened to the soft sighing breaths of the baby asleep in the crib beside her, and the gentle snores of Sam. She moved closer and wrapped her arms tightly around his solid, comforting frame. He stirred and nestled against her, murmuring her name in his sleep. She wanted to wrap him in an embrace that would protect him from the hurts to come, knowing that she was powerless. She cursed the fates that had blighted the lives of the two who meant so much to her.

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*TBC*

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